“The gods of disorder and upheaval enjoyed a busy night.” This headline in The New Yorker Today online referring to the Brexit election caught my attention. Sometimes it seems like forces of turbulence and upheaval are prowling our world sowing fear and disorder among us. The Middle East is aflame, Europe is awash with hundreds of thousands of displaced persons seeking refuge, the European Union is threatened, Christianity is under attack, terrorism is increasing and even the weather has become hostile. Who or what is the maleficent force behind this plague on our planet?
In the words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The ancient Romans and Greeks would indeed have attributed such times of tribulation to angry gods. Today, we know the real culprit is human greed, avarice and covetousness. Yes, just like all those things mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
You will recall that Scripture identifies the Original Sin as our desire to be like gods (Gen. 3:5). Stop and reflect for a moment. Each of the occurrences that I have mentioned finds its ultimate cause in human greed or avarice often manifested in a desire for power. Ambition seeks to fulfill potential; greed and avarice are the excessive desires for power or wealth.
I believe that few people admit, even to themselves, that they seek to commit an evil act. Rather, they justify committing evil by disguising it as an apparent good. It is very easy. You demonize your opponent, thereby justifying his destruction … he was evil. Right! It’s an old trick but it’s still very much in use. Our politics is rampant with demonizing.
Ideas, individuals, programs, projects, political parties, proposals even laws of the land are demonized, regardless of their merit, so that they may be targeted for destruction with greed, avarice and power often the underlying justification.
The anti-venoms for disorder and upheaval caused by greed and avarice are the common good, love, compassion, consideration and mercy toward others. The Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 8) speaks of the “general welfare,” a euphemism for common good, but it has been attacked and distorted by those who find the concept antithetical to their purpose.
In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, (218) Pope Francis wrote, “Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.”
As disciples of Jesus, we must be that prophetic voice against the forces of avarice and greed that sow disorder and upheaval.
Image Credit: Max on Flickr